Call for Submissions - What Can Be Done?

One of the biggest challenges of Stand's work is confronting helplessness in the face of a conflict that is dizzying in its levels of complexity. The feelings of helplessness on not limited only to private citizens but also politicians who don't know what their realistic options are sometimes.

Well, now's your chance to weigh in. On the Stand blog we want to hear from you: how does Canada help bring a solution to the conflict in Darfur? How does Canada make sure that poor men, women, and children are no longer slaughtered, raped or forced to flee their homes in Darfur? I want to hear big ideas, crazy ideas, or practical and subtle ideas...anything. Discuss in your campus groups. Send me a post about it. Write up a post in the comments section and then battle it out among yourselves about which solution is more effective.

Below, I have included Stand-Canada's current policy recommendations. Please engage with them, debate them, and let us know what you think. We look forward to hearing from you soon.

Policy Recommendations:

1. Build on Canada's recent commitments to Darfur by appointing a Special Envoy to the region. A Special Envoy could strengthen Canadian policymaking on Darfur in three key ways: 1) providing the world with a public face for Canada's efforts on Darfur, 2) providing a presence on the ground in Sudan, and 3) coordinating an integrated "all of Sudan" approach to Canadian peacebuilding. Specifically, a Special Envoy could play a key role in assisting efforts of the Darfuri rebel groups to form a unified and coherent bargaining position, a critical success factor for renewed negotiations.

2. Form an all-party parliamentary special committee on Darfur whose goal it will be to determine viable actions for the Canadian government to undertake to lead in ending the crisis in Darfur. The committee should 1) exist for a specified period of time, 2) travel to Sudan to collect facts, 3) be fully resourced by the Canadian government and 4) have equal party representation.

3. Engage more actively with the Obama administration to identify new opportunities for collaboration and cooperation on Darfur.

4. Engage more actively in multilateral diplomacy at the UN to bring renewed prominence to the Darfur issue internationally and rally greater international support for conflict resolution efforts.


Scott Fenwick said...

Question: what is behind the premise behind rec #3, working with the Obama administration? Is it that the Americans are good to work with bilaterally because of the power they hold? Or is it out of the hope that Obama can personally change the fate of Sudan? Or is it something else?

Anja said...

Scott, I think the hope is that because Obama and a number of people within his administration have spoken up a lot about Darfur in the past that his presidency will present new opportunities for peace in Darfur. His approach to foreign policy is different than the last administration's so it will hopefully provide new opportunities for international engagement on Darfur. Canada could use this as a opportunity to also renew their commitment to peace in Darfur.

Ian - I have a non-blog related question. Did the Stand emails stop working? I haven't been able to access mine in over a week for some reason.

Jackie said...

Ian - thanks for this post - I think it's great that we're starting a policy discussion. The more input we have, the stronger our recommendations will be. I'd encourage everyone with an idea, a criticism, or a question to post it - I know there's a lot of untapped expertise among our supporters!!

Ian said...

Anja, unfortunately, I have no idea why your email stopped working - mine seems to be fine. You might want to try emailing Shannon Thorndyke about it, I guess.

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Scott Fenwick said...

Thanks for the clarification on that policy recommendation, Anja.

Another question I have on policy: what is STAND's official stance on the indictment against the Sudanese president? Given that recent chatter from ICC lawyers and diplomats indicate that the arrest warrent is going to be issued, are we taking a wait and see approach to this issue? Or has STAND developed a clear policy on this?

Anonymous said...

Hello, thank you for your hard work on this issue.

I have a question about trust: with so many sides engaged in conflict, and some people changing sides or posing as humanitarian vehicles, how can an inner sense of safety and trust be built and honoured from the side of any international group with Darfurian people who may be honestly seeking this sense of safety? What policy would STAND be willing to include that may consider the adequate training of international deployments in terms of gender and racial sensitivity? What makes UNAMID better prepared to handle the complexities that the Darfurian people face? Will UNAMID carry with it the same transparency and immediacy of action with possible internal abuses that it is asking of the Sudanese government? What psychological support is in place for the new troops who will also have to face themselves untold of atrocities? How transparent, flexible and responsible to criticism will the UN force be, and will it be prepared to set an example in action for Sudan?

Also, would it ever be possible to buy the land that the IDP and refugee camps are currently on, or at least address policy so that farming practices can be legally started even on small plots within the camps until another solution can be found? It has been years. Surely some form of gardening can be used so less dependence is on humanitarian supplies that are endangered by ground transport. This could decrease a sense of desperation if a humanitarian supply vehicle is intercepted. At least there would be something growing. Is planting legal in these camps?

Also, instead of addressing the conflict as a whole, is it possible to work with one camp, to create a sense of safety with the few resources that are there - focus all resources into one area that can create a worthy sense of trust, and build from there?

It may be important to find something small amidst the conflict that is actually a workable goal, and to create the trust with something we actually do have the resources for.

7000 people can surely be adequate to police a few square feet but does not seem adequate when spread over the whole region. What about training people in the camps to be able to support the resources that are there? What about visiting the camps and having people there have input into the solution?

What languages are useful in Darfur and are there any that are more useful to learn? Do we have any ways to learn them?

What factors are currently in place in the IDP camps that create a sense of safety? Is there any way we can have a blog space about what is already working in Darfur -a place not dedicated to criticism but dedicated to focussing on the positive?

Thank you once again for your kind and positive attention to this issue.

Jackie said...

Hi Scott, we've discussed the ICC on our policy calls, and have also been engaging in conversations with our partners at SIARG. The consensus seems to be that, while Stand supports this decisive action against impunity in principle, our primary concern is peace and stability for the people of Darfur. We would like to see a robust ICC process that includes measures to minimize any potential violent backlash. The interests of the people of Darfur must be fully accounted for.

Moreover, Stand believes that ICC indictments should be a complement to - and not a replacement for - international peacekeeping and peacebuilding efforts in the region. Judicial efforts may be important, but should not distract from the urgent task of achieving peace.

Comments, as always, are welcome.

Jackie said...

And to the anonymous poster - your comments are certainly well-taken. After being on the ground in South Sudan, I fully understand the frustration at the lack of progress in camps when it seems like it would be so easy to implement! I agree that focusing on the small-scale is something Stand should perhaps consider. (I'd be interested in discussing your ideas in more detail - feel free to email me at